UK Government Funds University of Aberdeen Hydrogen Study
The UK Government has granted $265,800 to the University of Aberdeen’s School of Engineering for a project aiming to create a new process to obtain hydrogen from organic waste as part of the energy transition.
The funding, from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio under the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy will enable research that could see the organic matter in food waste, manure, wastewaters, and other biodegradable wastes converted to hydrogen and used to power homes and businesses on a commercial scale.
Led by Professor Davide Dionisi from the School of Engineering, the project involves several leading academics, including from the University’s Department of Chemistry. The team also includes Cranfield University in England and the University of Verona in Italy as partners. The project will use a sequence of biological, thermochemical, and electrochemical stages to maximize the conversion of organic matter into hydrogen.
“Hydrogen is a key energy vector in the energy transition and generating hydrogen from organic waste would achieve the combined benefits of reducing environmental pollution and of generating green sustainable energy,” said Professor Dionisi, who is a renowned specialist in biomass research.
“So far there is no commercial process that produces hydrogen from organic waste, but our proposed process combines waste treatment with energy generation and can be entirely powered from renewable electricity, thereby providing a more sustainable alternative to other processes for hydrogen production from non-renewable and renewable resources,” said Dionisi.
Professor Dionisi explained that the project will adopt an innovative process consisting of four main reaction stages – dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion, plasma reforming, and steam gasification.
By scaling up and integrating these four stages, the researchers aim to maximize the hydrogen yield from organic waste.
“I am delighted that our research has been recognized by the UK Government as being among the most promising in the UK in terms of delivering a sustainable hydrogen-producing process at a commercial scale,” added Professor Dionisi.
“The project may move the proposed process closer to commercialization, with the ultimate impact of reducing the energy consumption, land and water requirements of green hydrogen production in the UK and globally,” he adds.
“Accelerating home-grown renewables like biomass is a key part of ending our dependency on expensive and volatile fossil fuels. This $44.7 million government investment will support innovation across the UK, boosting jobs whilst ensuring greater energy security for years to come,” concluded UK Government Energy Minister Greg Hands.
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